More Zim animals die from cyanide poisoning

2015-10-12 20:12
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Harare - At least two zebras, a warthog and hundreds of birds are believed to have died in another cyanide poisoning case in Zimbabwe, this time on a private ranch.

At least 14 elephants have been killed in the last two weeks with cyanide. Three were from Lake Kariba, in the north of the country, and 11 were killed in two poisoning incidents in Hwange in western Zimbabwe.

The latest incident is in the Nyamandlovu district in southern Zimbabwe.

Cyanide is readily available in Zimbabwe, where it is used by illegal gold panners.

The official Herald newspaper on Monday said the animals were killed last week at Dingwall Ranch. 

Ranch worker Magodi Moyo said he was on patrol early on Thursday when he saw tyre marks leading to a waterhole. 

He said there was evidence that "two big animals", likely zebras, had died and been taken away.

"We are not able to say how many animals were taken, but zebras are the ones which usually drink from that point," he told the Herald.

A reporter saw a dead warthog and "hundreds" of dead birds at the scene. It was not clear what bird species had died, although vultures often fell victim after eating poisoned carcasses. 

Police and the state wildlife authority were reported to be investigating. A plastic bag containing suspected cyanide had also been located.

Provincial environmental manager Chipo Mpofu-Zuze told the newspaper plenty of hard work had to be done to neutralise the soil throughout the contaminated area.

The Zimbabwe authorities have not said any more about five suspects taken in for questioning last week in connection with the poisoning by cyanide of 11 elephants in Hwange. 

The incidents have revived grim memories of the killings of dozens of elephants using cyanide placed on salt licks near waterholes in Hwange National Park in 2013.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  conservation  |  animals

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